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Late Caution Gives Hamlin a Second Chance and He Beats Gibbs Teammate Truex at Richmond Raceway

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. after a caution with two laps to go and won in overtime at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.

Truex dominated the second half of the NASCAR Cup Series race and seemed poised to hold off challenges by Joey Logano and Hamlin for the final two laps when Kyle Larson got nudged from behind on the front straightaway and skidded into the infield, causing the caution.

Hamlin’s victory was his second this season, the fifth of his career at what he considers his home track, and the 53rd of his career, but it left Truex unhappy with several drivers involved.

“He jumped the restart,” Truex said of Hamlin, who started the restart on the inside.

The victory pulled the four Gibbs Toyota teams even with the four Chevrolet teams from Hendrick Motorsports with three victories each through seven races.

Larson, who won this race last year, barely beat Truex off pit road during green flag stops with 65 laps to go, but Truex quickly caught him and pulled away as he had many times earlier.

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Logano, who started the race 22nd in points with just one top 10 finish, worked his way into the lead pack in the second half, tried to run down Hamlin in the two-lap dash to the finish and was second, followed by Larson and Truex.

The race was delayed for about 30 minutes at the start because of rain, and the cars circled the track for several laps hoping to help dry the track before the green flag flew. They also ran the opening 30 laps on treaded tires meant for wet conditions before switching to racing slicks.

The competition caution after 30 laps also was non-competitive, meaning the drivers left pit road in the same position they were running when the caution came out.

A spin by Daniel Suarez on lap 64 brought out another caution, and NASCAR decided to finish the 70-lap first stage under caution, making Larson the stage winner. NASCAR also sent the track drying vehicles down pit road again hoping to dry out the pit boxes for safety reasons.

The series completes its short track swing in Virginia next Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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